When the first quorum of twelve Apostles was set apart, many promises were made which were not fulfilled in their lifetime. I would venture to say that less
than half of them came to pass during their lives. Here are some examples:
Lyman E. Johnson was promised that "He shall see the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory." [Documentary History of the Church (DHC) Vol 2; pg 188]
Heber C. Kimball was promised that "He may stand unto the coming of our Lord, and receive a crown in the Kingdom of our God; that he be made acquainted with the day when Christ shall come; that he shall be made perfect in faith; and that the deaf shall hear, the lame shall walk, the blind shall see, and greater things than these shall he do." (DHC Vol 2; pg 189)
Orson Hyde was promised "That he may stand upon the earth and bring souls till Christ comes. We know that he loves thee O, Lord and may this Thy servant be able to walk through pestilence and not be harmed; and the powers of darkness have no ascendancy over him; may he have the power to smite the earth with pestilence, to divide the waters, and lead through the Saints; may he go from land to land and from sea to sea, and may he be like one of the three Nephites." (DHC Vol. 2 pg. 190)
David W. Patten was blessed "That he may go to the Nations and isles afar off." (DHC Vol. 2; pg. 190) Actually, he was shot in Missouri before he could fulfill that blessing. Also none of the above lived to see the Savior come in his glory for that day has not yet arrived and all the original twelve are now in their graves. Orson Hyde was never like one of the three Nephites and he never divided the waters.
William Smith was also blessed that "He shall be preserved and REMAIN on the earth until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked." (DHC Vol. 2; pg. 191)
John F. Boynton was blessed thusly: "Thou shalt stand in that day of calamity when the wicked shall be consumed, and present unto thy father, spotless, the fruits of thy labor. Thou shalt overcome all the evils that are in the world." (DHC Vol. 2; pg. 191)
Parley P. Pratt was promised: "You shall see a NATION born in a day." (DHC Vol. 2; pg. 193) Parley, of course died without seeing any such nation, Was this promise in vain? Were all the above promises the babblings of a false prophet? While it is true that human error has to always be considered, it is also true that all of these promises can yet be fulfilled, for many of the early saints are upon the earth once more and their inner souls hunger for the day when these promises can truly be fulfilled.
I have met a number of people in our own day who have received beautiful promises in their patriarchal blessings, yet died seeing them unfulfilled. I remember an elderly neighbor lady who received a promise that she would live to see Jesus come again. The poor lady had faith in that blessing until the day she died. Was her faith in vain? No. If she is judged faithful she may yet be born again and be here in the time period of the second coming.
I had some good friends who were blessed that they would have sons and daughters, yet they died in a car accident and only had one child. Will they be able to see the fulfillment of that blessing? Yes. They may yet have sons and daughters many times over. If they are judged faithful they will "receive an hundred fold...children and lands." (Mark 10:30)
As I said we must recognize the possibility of human error any blessing given, even if stated by the greatest prophet in history. We must also realize that human language is a very weak way of communicating, but even in taking this into consideration, there is no reason why we cannot assume that the above utterances are inspired and will someday be fulfilled.
Some people just tend to ignore promises like the above which have not been fulfilled, and like to pretend they don't exist. They lean entirely toward the heart and seem to think that using common sense is of the devil. Others rationalize by stating that God will straighten things out in some nebulous way in the spirit world or resurrection. Of course, they do not even bother to speculate on how God may do that, for speculation is of the devil, they believe.
All I can say is that I'm glad that Jesus speculated and stretched his mind beyond the law of Moses, or where would we be now? Joseph Smith once said: "Great God! Is there no common sense on the earth!" (DHC Vol. 5; pg. 297) If he were here now and see how many refuse to think things out in their mind as well as there heart, he would probably ask the same question again. "Behold, I will tell you in your MIND, and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost.... This is the spirit of revelation." [Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 8:2-3)] If one wants the spirit of revelation he must use his mind as well as heart. Logic and reason are not evil as many accuse.
So how will William Smith REMAIN on the earth until Christ will come? Try and explain that without the principle of reincarnation.
John the Revelator was also given an interesting promise, of which we have no record of fulfillment:
9 "And I went unto the Angel and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me: Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
10 "And he said unto me, Thou must PROPHESY AGAIN BEFORE MANY PEOPLES, AND NATIONS, AND TONGUES, AND KINGS."
Concerning this the question was asked:
"Q: What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th Chapter of Revelation?
"A: We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who as it is written, must come and restore all things." (D&C 77:14)
Also concerning John the Lord said unto him: "Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my
glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues, and people." (D&C 7:3)
The great mystery then is where is John? The answer is that he has either reincarnated or is walking and teaching on the earth incognito through some supernatural means. If the scriptures are true he has taught "many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" during the past two thousand years.
The average member of the church better pray that the doctrine of reincarnation is true for he surely will not get to the celestial kingdom or the presence of God without it. Also those who died without a testimony of Jesus while in the flesh go to the terrestrial kingdom. (D&C 76:71-74) But even to go here we must be honorable and honest. To go to the celestial kingdom we must be "valiant". When you go before the judgment bar and the angel asks you what you have done that is valiant -- what will you say? Wouldn't you want another chance at life at that time to prove that you really can be valiant? Also, before we can enter the celestial kingdom we must receive the "Manifestation of the Spirit, while IN THE FLESH, (that) they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory." (D&C 76:118) Why are we doing celestial ordinances for the dead, if they did not receive a manifestation of the spirit while in the FLESH? Obviously, the only way those who died without such a manifestation can enter into such a world of glory, is to come back in the flesh and receive it.
And what is meant in the scripture by "manifestation"? We are told that this is more than just a warm feeling, but that a man will have revealed to him things "not lawful for a man to utter." (D&C 76:115) These are things "seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit." (D&C 76:116) These are things which the average, or even the far above average member of the church cannot claim; thus they cannot claim the world of glory if their current belief system is accurate.
Therefore, the above average good Mormon who has not received such a divine manifestation should plan on going to the lower kingdoms for eternity -- unless...unless, there is some missing link of knowledge, such as reincarnation which still leaves the door to the higher worlds open to them.
Amazingly, the person with the largest number of unfulfilled promises was Joseph Smith himself. To him the Lord said:
"And it shall come to pass that if you are faithful you shall receive the fullness of the record of John." (D&C 93:18)
The church believes that Joseph Smith was faithful unto the end, doesn't it? Where then, is the fullness of the record of John?
Continuing in that same section the Lord promises: "That you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fullness. For
if ye keep my commandments you shall receive of his fullness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace
for grace ... Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is spirit, even the Spirit of truth ... And NO MAN receiveth a fullness unless he
keepeth his commandments." (D&C 93:19-20, 23, and 27)
Read the whole section and you will see that "fullness" means to become like Jesus was. How can Joseph Smith or any of us receive his fullness without further testing?
Speaking of his greatest promise Joseph said: "I feel like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over ALL my enemies, FOR THE LORD GOD HATH SPOKEN IT." (D&C 127:2)
Many will say that Joseph did triumph over his enemies, and that the church is triumphing today, but scripture is not to be interpreted by impulse. Let's see what Joseph meant by overcoming his enemies: "Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put ALL enemies under our feet IN THIS WORLD, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved." (DHC 5:387)
It is obvious that when Joseph was promised he would overcome all his enemies that he interpreted it to mean those in this world as well as the world to come. We know little about his work in the spirit world, but we do know that he did not overcome all his enemies in THIS world. His enemies temporarily overcame him and he was shot before he could fulfill his dreams of Zion and "a nation born in a day." He further stated: "Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over every one of them" (His enemies). (DHC 5:401) He also said: "I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot overthrow or overcome this boy, for I HAVE A PROMISE FROM THE ETERNAL GOD." (DHC 5:554)
Brigham Young also expected Joseph to triumph for he stated in 1843: "Yet he (Joseph) will lay a plan to speculate as large as ancient Joseph did; he will have power to buy up all the rest of the world." (DHC 6:16)
Speaking of Joseph's future the Lord said: "The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision ... But for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion," (D&C 122:1 & 4)
Joseph was just approaching the point of overcoming his enemies when he was killed. He was indeed laying a plan to buy up the whole world and bring peace as ancient Joseph did. Joseph and his successors were not successful in establishing "a government of our own," (DHC 6:222) and thus Joseph did not overcome his enemies in that life, nor did he fulfill his dreams.
As Moses, he was not allowed to enter the promised land. After the failure in Missouri the Lord said : "Now, behold, I say unto you, my friends, in this way you may find favor in the eyes of the people, until the army of Israel becomes very great. And I will soften the hearts of the people, as I did the heart of Pharaoh, from time to time, until my servant Baurak Ale, (Joseph Smith) and Baneemy (Mine Elders), whom I have appointed, shall have time to gather up the strength of my house...They shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion." (D&C 105:26-27 & 37)
This is another promise yet to be fulfilled for Joseph and the Elders were never able to deliver the land of Zion in Missouri in that life. Yet the Lord spoke it and can also fulfill. Joseph was told to teach and learn all that he could "That ye may be prepared in all things when I SHALL SEND YOU AGAIN to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission which I have commissioned you." (D&C 88:80) Again we are told that Joseph was to "remain unto them that have received his, that I may reserve unto myself a pure people." (D&C 43) Interestingly, Joseph Smith also said that he was to be a witness to the whole world and then the end should come. (See DHC 6:363.)
Concerning the future missions of Joseph Smith, he said his father "anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led them in days of old." (DHC 2:380) It might be said that Brigham Young led the Children of Israel like Moses, but Joseph Smith did not.
For further testimony we quote: "For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins ... And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel ... And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people ... They that seek to destroy him shall be confounded ... I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him." (2 Nephi 3:6, 9, 13, 14, & 17) All the authorities of the church interpret this person to be Joseph Smith; however, the Fundamentalists believe it to be a future Indian prophet and not without reason, for Joseph Smith in one life did not fulfill the entire prophecy. His enemies overcame him and he did not deliver the people as Moses. If one does not consider reincarnation it is understandable that one would solve the discrepancies by looking for another prophet. Another prophet will indeed come, but it will be Brother Joseph who will lead the people as Moses and fulfill all the prophecies written about him.
One of the most important things the scriptures indicate that Joseph Smith will do is to expound the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon: "Then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men. For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith. and AGAIN it shall come to pass that the Lord SHALL SAY UNTO HIM THAT SHALL READ THE WORDS THAT SHALL BE DELIVERED HIM ... And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the (sealed) book ... They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine." (2 Nephi 27;22-24, 29 & 35)
Again speaking of Joseph Smith in the latter-day period he said:
"But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him although he shall be marred (martyred) because of them. Yet I will heal him (bring him to life in a new body), for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." (3 Nephi 21:10)
Interestingly, just before Joseph Smith went to his death he stated that he expected to be marred more than any other man indicating that he believed he
was the person talked about here as well as in the similar prophecy in Isaiah 5:14.
Another interesting promise made to Joseph Smith is that he will hold the keys of the Priesthood until the Lord comes. This is easily proved from the scriptures: "Rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him UNTIL I COME." (D&C 112:15)
"Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come." (D&C 90:3)
Joseph's Father blessed him that he would hold "The keys of the mysteries of the kingdom until the coming of the Lord." (DHC 2:32)
Even in our hymnbook we have the phrase in PRAISE TO THE MAN: "Ever and ever the keys he will hold." We also have the prophecy: "Millions shall know Brother Joseph again."
Again, we find an interesting prophecy that cannot be fulfilled without reincarnation: "And I have given unto him (Joseph) the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which SHALL COME FROM THIS TIME UNTIL THE TIME OF MY COMING, if he abide in me." (D&C 35:18) Did Joseph Smith abide in the Lord? All the authorities say "yes." If they agree to this then they must agree that he is the one, according to this scripture, who will YET bring forth those things which are sealed. Since the Lord doesn't send immortal beings to do our work for us, then the only way for Joseph to fulfill this prophecy is to come back as a mortal. Who can refute it? Who has logic strong enough to stand against it?
Joseph's patriarchal blessing by his Father reads: "Thou shalt hold the keys of this ministry, even the Presidency of this church, both in time and eternity ... Thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the North, and with thy brethren, the Sons of Ephriam, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ." ('Our Lineage,' Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1933, pg. 14) This certainly sounds like Joseph will be here during the winding up scene doesn't it?
To Joseph the Lord also said:
"And this shall be your business and mission in ALL YOUR LIVES, to preside in council, and set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom." (D&C 90:16)
The mission of Joseph Smith in his various lives is given in the allegory of the tame and wild olive tree in Jacob, Chapter Five. We are told: "I
will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.
The Lord of the vineyard is the Christ and the servant is Joseph Smith. I will not quote the whole chapter, but the reader should read it all. The allegory
covers thousands of years and the servant is sent on numerous missions to work in the vineyard. The ten tribes are hidden, various branches are planted in the
best part of the vineyard (America), the dispersion of Israel, Christianity, is all in the story and the servant is always there helping. Each time the
servant is sent to work in the vineyard it is symbolically speaking of Joseph being sent to the earth on a mission.
Finally, speaking of the last dispensation it says: "And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants (Brigham Young, John Taylor, Hyrum and others); and they were few." (Jacob 5:70) After their mission is successful and the millennium ushered in the Lord said: "For behold, for a long time will I lay up the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season." (Verse 76) After this "long time" and evil fruit again appears the Lord indicates that he will send his servants to work for him again in Verse 77.
A similar parable was given to Joseph Smith in D&C 101:43-62. This parable concerns the redemption of Zion and again we have the Lord of the vineyard, the vineyard, the servant and his helpers. The servant was told to redeem Zion and commanded to "break down the walls of mine enemies ... that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land." (D&C 101:57-58)
"The servant said unto his Lord: When shall these things be? And he said unto his servant: WHEN I WILL; go ye straightway and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you - a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom. And his servant went-straightway and did all things whatsoever his Lord commanded him; and AFTER MANY DAYS ALL THINGS WERE FULFILLED." (D&C 101:59-62)
Who fulfilled "all things?" It was the servant. The Lord himself answers:
"Verily, Verily, I say unto you, that my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith) is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given you." (D&C 103:21)
How can any of these scriptures be fulfilled without reincarnation? In considering some of the scriptures referring to Joseph Smith, some of the early
brethren speculated that Joseph Smith would come back as an immortal resurrected being and lead the Saints back to Missouri, but when has the Lord ever
sent an immortal being to do the work of mortals? That is not in the plan, and is against the law of the Gods, for there are certain things we must do
for ourselves or they cannot get done at all. After Jesus was resurrected and ascended he did not come back and head the church as an immortal, but let
the mortal Peter do it. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever in principle and cannot interfere with the free agency of men, or must suffer the
effects of karma himself.
If one really believes the scriptures one must believe that Joseph Smith has unfinished business that he must return and fulfill.
Finally, we examine one of the more interesting promises made to Joseph Smith:
"I was praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus without being able to decide whether this referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face." (D&C 130:14-16)
This was indeed a confusing answer to Joseph. He wrote this in April of 1843, and at this time he was already aware that he would not live to be
eighty-five for he prophesied that he would not live to age forty. He also reported to have prophesied that he would not go to the rocky mountains with
the rest of the Saints. How was he to interpret it? Perhaps, he thought, that he should die and see his face, but if he died before the age of forty how
could it be said that he saw the Christ when he was eighty-five?
Perhaps it referred to a previous appearing or the millennium he thought. Finally he concluded that the millennium would not begin before 1890. That much he knew for sure. Finally, the idea must have occurred to him that he may be born again and live to the age of eighty-five, for he was praying to know the date of the second coming so the answer must apply to that; yet according to Joseph's own prophesies the second coming will not be until the beginning of the seventh thousand years or at least the twenty-first century. Concerning the Book of Revelation Joseph was asked:
"Q: What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?
"A: We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh." (D&C 77:7)
Here we are told clearly beyond the reach of argument that the seventh seal contains the things of the seventh thousand years which will begin at
approximately the year 2000. Almost all the Book of Revelations deals with the seventh thousand years. Chapters eight through nineteen deal with this
The ninth chapter deals with some of the last wars, and tribulations and concerning this, the question was asked: "When are the things to be accomplished, which are written in the ninth chapter of Revelation?" They are to be accomplished AFTER the opening of the seventh seal (After the year 2000) BEFORE the coming of Christ."
The ninth chapter just gives us the beginning of the tribulations. There are other things to come which may take quite a number of years. Read the whole book and see. In the face of all this evidence many in the church still say that the Lord will come BEFORE the year 2000. (I wrote this in 1978) We often hear people in the church say: "The coming of the Lord is nearer than you could imagine." Actually, it is farther away than they imagine and because they do not study the scriptures when the time passes that they expect the Lord to come and 2000, 2010, 2020 rolls by many will say "that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth." (D&C 45:26) But what are they saying now? "The Lord is right on schedule!" They will not say that forever for the time will come when those who have not prepared will have their hearts and faith fail them.
In light of this evidence, why is it that so many expect the Lord to come before the year 2000? (again the wording from a 1978 reference) The answer is that a day with the Lord is a thousand years to man and since the Lord made the world in six days and rested on the seventh then since the year 2000 approximately begins the Lords seventh day then the Lord will cause his millennium to begin around the year 2000.
This is good reasoning as far as it goes, but again someone did not read the scriptures. It is true that the millennium is symbolic of the Lord's day of rest, but the Lord did not rest at the beginning of the seventh day. He continued working: "And on the seventh day God ENDED his work which he had made." (Gen 2:2) Then the same chapter goes on to tell us that God actually made Adam's physical body on the seventh day and planted the garden of Eden. Next God created the physical animals on the seventh day. (See Gen 2:19.) Finally, he created the woman in Verse 21.
All this is easily verified in the Doctrine and Covenants:
"Q: What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?
"A: We are to understand that as God made the world in six days and ON THE SEVENTH HE FINISHED HIS WORK, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so in the BEGINNING of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, IN THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTH THOUSAND YEARS - the preparing of the way BEFORE THE TIME OF HIS COMING. " (D&C 77:12)
It is obvious then that Joseph taught that the second coming was going to be AFTER the year 2000. Isn't it possible that Joseph expected to
be here in that time period when he said: "I prophesy in the name of the Lord God and let it be written -- the Son of Man will not
come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old." (DHC 5:336)
In speaking of a future life when Joseph would live to be eighty five years, old he told some faithful brethren: "You will gather many people to the fastness of the Rocky Mountains and many of those who will come in under your ministry, because of their learning, will seek for position and they will gain eminence over you and you will walk in low places unnoticed, yet you will know all that transpires in your midst. Those who are your friends are my friends, and I promise you that when I COME AGAIN I WILL LEAD YOU FORTH so that where I am you shall be with me." ('Life Story of Wandles Mace by Himself'; Pages 131-132)
When will Joseph come again? If we can figure out the time of the coming of the one mighty and strong we would know of the coming of Joseph Smith for the purpose of the one mighty and strong is to "set in order the house of God." (D&C 85:7) And Joseph's mission is to "set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom" in all his "LIVES." (D&C 90:16) Obviously, these two are one and the same person.
We do have one indication as to when this person will come. Lorin C. Wooley, who was a body guard for John Taylor recalled an address he gave after receiving a manifestation of the Christ and Joseph Smith. Brother Wooley said: "He (John Taylor) said that in the time of the seventh president of this church, the Church would go into bondage both temporally and spiritually and that in that day the one mighty and strong spoken of in the eighty-fifth section of the Doctrine and Covenants would come." ('A Leaf In Review,' Page 235)
The seventh president was Heber J. Grant. In his day the church did go into financial bondage, which bondage the average member has no knowledge, but it was caused by church's investment in the sugar industry among other things. The church was taken in spiritual bondage because they began to believe that all was well in Zion and adopt the ways of the wisdom of the world; the church was no more out of Babylon. Finally, if the prophecy was a true prophecy, then Joseph Smith who is to be the voice of one mighty and strong was reborn during the administration of Heber J. Grant. (Nov 23, 1918 - May 14, 1945)
Sound unbelievable? I admit that it does. Yet old cliches are often true. "Truth is stranger than fiction."
-- End Of Chapter 10 --
Index Of Chapters On Eternal Lives
Copyright 2001 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved